Addendum. Cleveland realizes it is now following our lead. Cleveland Plain Dealer:Cutbacks at nearby Pittsburgh International Airport may supply a lesson for Cleveland Hopkins travelers
It is odd reading this along with the version locally also in the news today... Trib: Pittsburgh International struggling despite the region's robust economy. That is in some ways a follow up on news the other day that the county is actively pursuing the, "banned by law" in the United States, business of expanding a foreign airline at the airport here. See PG: Allegheny County wooing Emirates airline. Don't get me wrong, Emirates is a great airline if you have ever had a chance to fly it, but that is just another point altogether.
What does it all mean here? The airport here once tried to sell itself as an alternative market to folks flying out of Cleveland? Whether the decrease in flights will hurt or help that endeavor is unclear, even if it is still being pursued. Fewer flights means some may have to seek flights out of PIT, but just as happened here, the de-hubbing may mean lower costs out of Cleveland and thus stiffer competition for PIT. As with PIT you have to think the lower costs will bring in more local enplanements, which would have to come out of PIT's hide, but who knows? Where is a CGE model when you need one?
But going back to the Trib article today.... It highlights this confusion of public officials going back a long way here of conflating economic potential at the airport with regional economic growth and competitiveness. As much as some want to believe otherwise, I've never seen any research that ties regional competitiveness with investment, let alone public investment, in air transportation infrastructure. Is there more air service in regions that are bigger and faster growing? You bet, but don't confuse the correlation with causality both ways. Yet, it is one of those sacrosanct theories. Just imagine what would have been said about Pittsburgh's economic future if in 2000 you predicted the USAirways hub was about to evaporate rapidly. Was not the region's economic future tied to airport generated growth? Nobody has ever really gone back to evaluate that whole strategy.
Speaking of looking back... just wondering what progress has been made of the big effort to expand flights from PIT to other Pennsylvania airports. Any trends there of note?